What to Know About Sunday’s “Super Blood Moon Flower” Lunar Eclipse


Those late risers on Sunday evening may be able to witness a spectacle in the sky with a very long name – a so-called “super blood moon” lunar eclipse.

During this astrological event, which will begin Sunday evening and continue until the wee hours of Monday morning, the moon will receive only sunlight bent through the Earth’s atmosphere and change color over the minutes from gray to pink to orange to red, according to USA Today.

Under ideal weather conditions, the eclipse will be visible from parts of the Americas – including the Great Columbus – as well as Europe, Africa, Antarctica and the Eastern Pacific.

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But we all know that the weather in central Ohio isn’t always ideal and, well, there might be clouds and rain in the forecast.

If you miss this one, at least one more eclipse is coming later this year. The next one will be Nov. 8, according to Space.com.

What is a lunar eclipse?

Total lunar eclipses occur when the entire moon passes through the innermost part of Earth’s shadow, called the umbra, according to Space.com.

During the event, Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the lunar surface, with sunlight instead being scattered by Earth’s atmosphere and reflected off the moon’s surface. This type of lunar eclipse gives the moon its red hue.

What is a blood moon?

During a total lunar eclipse, a blood moon occurs, turning it red. This is due to light from Earth’s sunrises and sunsets falling on the surface of the moon. Because light waves are stretched, they appear red. When this red light hits the surface of the moon, it also appears red.

What is a Super Moon?

According to Space.com, a supermoon occurs when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest approach to Earth in its orbit. The reason supermoons only happen a few times a year is because the moon’s orbit changes orientation as the Earth revolves around the sun.

The moon will appear up to 30% brighter and 14% larger than normal, but it’s hard for the casual observer to notice the difference.

What is a Moonflower?

Sunday’s event is called the “flower” moon, as it is a name given to the May full moon. Indeed, “flowers are springing in abundance across North America this month,” said the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The full moon names used by the almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not just the full moon.

What time will the lunar eclipse be visible?

The eclipse is expected to begin at 10:28 p.m. Sunday and continue until 1:55 a.m. Monday. The blood moon portion of the event is scheduled to begin at 12:11 a.m., according to Space.com.

However, residents of Greater Columbus may not be able to see the eclipse. Cloudy skies and a 60% chance of showers are expected Sunday evening, said Andy Hatzos, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

“It’s Sunday…it’s a long way off, so the forecast will tend to change by then,” he said.

On the temperature side, the night will have a minimum of 56 degrees.

How will I be able to see it?

Unlike a solar eclipse, special glasses are not required to view a lunar eclipse.

Space.com recommends going outside at least 20 minutes before the eclipse begins so people’s eyes can adjust to the darkness. Equipment such as cameras, telescopes and binoculars may need a few hours to adjust to different outdoor temperatures and humidity, so get them out as soon as possible to avoid dew issues.

Also, keep bright phones or flashlights off to maximize the eclipse experience.

USA today journalist Doyle Rice contributed to this article.

Micah Walker is Dispatch’s trending reporter. Contact her at [email protected] or 740-251-7199. Follow her on Twitter @micah_walker701.


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